Wednesday, December 24, 2008

We need a little Christmas

from Mame, by Jerry Herman

Haul out the holly;
Put up the tree before my spirit falls again.
Fill up the stocking,
I may be rushing things, but deck the halls again now.
For we need a little Christmas
Right this very minute,
Candles in the window,
Carols at the spinet.
Yes, we need a little Christmas
Right this very minute.
It hasn't snowed a single flurry,
But Santa, dear, we're in a hurry;
So climb down the chimney;
Put up the brightest string of lights I've ever seen.
Slice up the fruitcake;
It's time we hung some tinsel on that evergreen bough.
For I've grown a little leaner,
Grown a little colder,
Grown a little sadder,
Grown a little older,

And I need a little angel
Sitting on my shoulder,
Need a little Christmas now.
Haul out the holly;
Well, once I taught you all to live each living day.
. . .
But we need a little Christmas
Right this very minute,
Candles in the window,
Carols at the spinet.
Yes, we need a little Christmas
Right this very minute.
. . .
Slice up the fruitcake;
It's time we hung some tinsel on that evergreen bough.
For we need a little music,
Need a little laughter,
Need a little singing
Ringing through the rafter,
And we need a little snappy
"Happy ever after,"

Need a little Christmas now.
Need a little Christmas now.

This song used to make me cringe whenever I heard it. A million years and another lifetime ago, I had to learn to polka to this song. Lemme tell you, nothing will ruin a good song faster than being forced to listen to it over and over while you try to polka. Anyway, I heard it today, and it just made me cry. In a good way, sort of. When a song just lands a gut punch to a core truth of your life, and the recognition of it forces an emotional reaction. Of course, maybe I'm just insane

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

2008 to last a second longer

Yes, apparently the year could have ended too soon. This is the year they choose to extend? Seriously?

Just shoot me now.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

In Memorium

In July 1998, T and I moved into a new apartment, one that allowed pets. I had grown up with cats and had been looking forward to getting a kitten to add to my and T's new family.

Being conscious of pet issues and such, T and I knew we were going to get our new pet from a shelter. Gainesville Pet Rescue had a great reputation, and we decided to make their organization our first stop. Like any good rescue organization, they had several kittens to choose from. We looked at them, and they were all very cute. But seeing how tiny they were and how much work raising a kitten would require, we realized weren't quite sure we would be good parents to a kitten.

The rescue worker understood out concerns and asked how we would feel about an adult cat. Then she showed us Pistachio. Pistachio was a full-grown female, about two years old. She had a beautiful calico/tortoise coat and the greenest eyes I had ever seen. The rescue worker told us she had been with them for about two months. They were have problems adopting her out because she was an adult and most people wanted kittens. They opened her cage to let me pet her. I scratched her under her chin, and she curled her head into my hand. I was in love instantly.

Pistachio was all cat. She was never much of a lap cat, unless your lap happened to be holding something that was taking your attention. She loved to help me read the newspaper or read my books. Even recently, when I was preparing for the CPS exam, she insisted on helping me study by laying right on top of my books.

She had the best, loudest purr I have ever heard. Really, you could often hear her purring from across the room; I called her my little baby motor boat.

We had established a nightly ritual, quiet time. I would feed the girls, then get ready for bed. Pistachio would follow me to the bedroom and curl up next to me while I read. My hand would reach down to stroke her, often pausing on her sides just to feel the vibration of her purrs. It wasn't at all uncommon for me to wake up with her little face right next to mine, waiting for me to assume the appropriate position so she could curl up with me.

Gods, there are so many things I loved about her.

A few hours ago, I went to the bedroom to change my clothes so I could go to the store. There she was, curled up on the bed on top of T's jeans. She looked up at me and meowed. I reached down to scratch her. I bent down to gently lay my head on her side. She was purring so loudly, so content with her life. I walked out of the room, and T and I continued a conversation about the state of the world and our place in it. During the conversation Pistachio and our other cat, Spats, moved onto the screen patio for some air.

In the space of seconds, I heard one of the cats, it sounded like Pistachio, making strange noises outside. I thought perhaps she had caught a lizard. When I looked outside, I saw Pistachio on her side, moving back and forth as though she was rubbing herself on the concrete, but the sounds coming from her were just ... wrong. I rushed outside and saw that she was convulsing. I didn't know what to do, so I picked her up, and she was dead weight in my arms. She groaned once as I held her to me and called for T. T brought a box lined with a towel, and I gently put her inside. I could see then that she was gone. Her beautiful jewel green eyes were open and unseeing. She wasn't breathing; her motor boat had stopped.

I don't know what happened. I don't know if I want to know. She only only 12. She was a little heavy (11 lbs), but she didn't seem to have any health problems. We were a little late with her annual exam, but she never seemed sick. All at once, so very suddenly, her little light went out.

Goodbye my beautiful, beautiful girl. You were our sweet kitten-face, and we loved you.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


This popped up on my iPod on the way home tonight. Given the way things are going in the world, I wanted to share.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Correct me if I'm Wrong...

But aren't John McCain, Barak Obama, and Joe Biden still sitting, active senators? The United States is in crisis, and Congress has been called to act, but where is their leadership? How is it that these men, who are fighting rather bitterly to be leader of this country, cannot find the time to be leaders in the positions they currently hold?

If I recall correctly, in past elections, a party's nominee for president was effectively the leader of that party, at least through the end of the election. Obama, however, instead of making use of the current situation to bolster his very thin leadership experience, has chosen to back "administration and congressional leaders' efforts to develop a "a more stable and permanent solution" to the U.S. financial crisis." Why is he not amoong the congressional leadership? Isn't he allowed to sit at the grown-ups' table yet?

Of course, McCain hasn't done any better in this regard. At least he hasn't actually called upon congressional leaders to fix the problem. Even so, why isn't he using his bipartisan background to help find a solution?

Biden might actually be hurting himself. (Remember, he did run for president prior to dropping out and being chosen for VP.)

Which is the problem with the three senatorial candidates here. None of them seem to remember that they have jobs. The public is being asked to choose one of these men as the leader of this country based, in part, on the quality of his leadership. Now, when the country is in crisis, that leadership is MIA.

Gentlemen, I ask you to please show this country that you are indeed capable of leading. Get off the campaign trail for a day or several. Get back to Washington and do the jobs for which you were elected. Prove to me that you can unite and lead.

Your country needs you now. We can't wait until January.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


Over at Simply Skimming, reader_iam wants to talk soup. I'm not really wild about soup (I live in Florida! It's too hot for soup.), but bill mentioned a recipe using puff pastry, which reminded me of my favorite recipe (which, of course, I don't actually make with puff pastry). Here it is for your cooking pleasure.

Cream of Portobello Mushroom Soup (originally seen on the Food Network)

4 tbsp butter
2 onions, chopped
8 large portobello mushroom caps, de-gilled, quartered and thinly sliced
salt & pepper
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
3 c. chicken broth
1 c. heavy cream
2-4 tbsp of dry sherry (or to taste)

In a large sauce pan or stock pot, melt your butter. Add the onions, mushrooms, and seasonings. Cook over medium-high heat until the onions have clarified, the mushrooms have softened and cooked down, and the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated. Add chicken broth and cream and simmer for about 15 minutes. Take 1/3 to 1/2 the mixture and carefully puree it in a blender until mostly smooth. Add the puree back into the soup; this should help thicken it. Stir in the sherry to desired taste. Serve at desired temperature.

(The original recipe suggested pouring servings into soup bowls, topping the bowls with puff pastry dough, and baking until the pastry formed a nice crust. That's too much work for me.)


It's about time!

That only took a week and a half.

WomenCount, a group co-founded by top Hillary fundraiser Susie Tompkins Buell, posted a lengthy item on their blog decrying questions over whether Palin can, as a mother of five, juggle her family responsibilities and still be vice president.

. . .

The group notes, however, that they do not approve of Palin's politics. "We cannot pretend that Governor Palin meets any standard of progressive politics or social values," [Rosemay] Camposano writes.

Unlike other feminist organizations which have taken up against Palin because of her conservative views, however, WomenCount says they'll "work to stamp out sexism when we see it on the campaign trail."

Now was that so hard?

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Musings on the Abortion Debate

I have heard this pro-Obama ad on WOMX a couple of times in the last few days. The first time was Thursday afternoon, after I left a lunch date with Outis and our long-time friend Cups in Dishwasher. As both are fairly strident conservatives, and Palin's speech had been the night before, we did discuss politics; so, hearing this ad immediately afterward started me thinking.

I've discussed my views on the abortion debate below (see paragraphs 7, 8 and 21 of the flashback). In a nutshell, I dislike that fact that abortions happen, but I really dislike the idea of the government making what are essentially religious and medical decisions for any woman.

In listening to this Obama ad, I realized that this exact same argument has been used during no fewer than six of the election cycles since the Roe v. Wade decision (1973). (I'm counting 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008; at the tender age of 37, I only vaguely remember 1980 and 1984 and don't remember 1976 at all.)

Oddly enough, in the 35 years since the Roe v. Wade decision, Republican presidents have been in office for 23 if them. This includes the last 7+ years under the that most evil of all evil Republicans, George W. Bush.

Now John McCain is the Republican nominee for President, and once again the Democrats trot out the old standard argument that McCain "will take away a woman's right to choose." Oh, please, can we not do that this year? Please?

John McCain is, by almost all accounts, the most liberal of high-profile Republicans. He's so non-conservative that he (apparently) almost switched parties in 2001. There were complaints early on in this campaign that he was too liberal to be worthy of the Republican nomination. The current belief is that McCain chose Sarah Palin to be his running mate only because she would draw the conservative base back to his side.

Even if McCain is adamantly opposed to abortion, what action would we expect him to take that is more anti-abortion-oriented than any implemented by the evil George W. Bush? Does anyone still think that our esteemed Senate will confirm a Supreme Court justice if there is the slightest whiff of pro-life ideology about him/her?

Let's pretend that happens and Roe v. Wade is magically overturned after 35+ years. Now what? Like it or not, abortion rights are an entrenched part of modern American culture. I believe our politicans are motivated by self-preservation and will not act in any way that will cause them to lose their offices. (Just ask them how they feel about term limits.) I believe there are many, many people who would rally to elect politicans who promise to reinstate a pro-chouce policies if Roe v. Wade is overturned. Moreover, if the ruling is overturned at the federal level, I believe that most states will enact state laws allowing the procedure.

But again, what if abortion is outlawed? There has been a lot of effort expended over the years to protect patients' privacy with regard to their medical records and treatments. Although I don't think current HIPPA laws will specifically protect women who have abortions, I think it is easy to believe that additional laws would be enacted to expand those privacy rights, and those of doctors as well.

I believe that we have reached a point in this country where the abortion debate, as a matter of policy and law, is largely irrelevant. Of course, we the people will continue to disagree, passionately, about abortion, but I believe the political issue is dead, at least for now.

For this election cycle, can we please just drop the pretense that this is an issue? Can we please acknowledge that McCain is no more likely to take action than Bush? Can we please just be a little bit reasonable?